Our Chapter’s Annual Awards, Installation Banquet & Auction on Thursday, February 10, 2022 featured among many things the following speech from incoming Chapter president, Vicki Baker, Senior Account Executive, Association Account Sales Organization, Marriott International.
Please read on to learn more about Vicki, her vision and theme for the Chapter for 2022, and the advice past Chapter presidents shared with Vicki as she embarks on her new role for the Chapter.
Speech by Vicki Baker:
“Thank you everyone for being here tonight! It is so wonderful to be back together in person. There is nothing better than getting together face-to-face!
I am very honored and humbled to be your President this year. I thought I’d start by telling you a little about how I got into the hospitality industry. I graduated from Missouri State University where I received a degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Administration. My first hotel job was in Springfield during college at the Quality Inn and then I worked at one of the very first Residence Inns built. Both as a front desk clerk.
After I graduated, I moved to KC and landed my first sales job at the Elms Resort Hotel until my dream job became available. A few months later I started as a manager trainee with Marriott International at the Overland Park Marriott. I was an EMM – Executive Meetings Manager where I booked and serviced all my meetings. Then I was promoted to Sales Manager before getting transferred to Marriott’s Tan-Tar-A Resort at the Lake of the Ozarks as Senior Sales Manager.
Right before I moved to the Lake, I met Keith and we dated long distance for about three years. When I moved back to KC, there weren’t any Marriott jobs available, so I started as a sales manager at Adam’s Mark hotel by the stadium and worked there for about a year. Then my DOSM (Todd Sherstad) from Tan-Tar-A called and asked if I would be interested in a DOS job for the newly created Lake of the Ozarks CVB working remotely from KC. And, of course, I said yes and sold for the Lake for about eight years.
During that time, I got married to Keith and had two daughters, McKenzie and Mallory ,who are here tonight to support me. I appreciate all your support! After my girls were born, I was fortunate enough to stay at home with them for about 10 years. And then in 2008, I was very happy to get back into the industry and was very fortunate to be re-hired by Marriott. I started back as a business development manager then moved to Sales Executive, then Account Executive and then to my current role as Senior Account Executive.
My entire working career has been in the hospitality industry and 18 of those years with Marriott. Over all these years, I’ve seen many changes and challenges as we all have, and the last two years have been the toughest years by far but…We made it! We are here and still standing! Let’s toast to that.
I am very excited to be the incoming President of the Heartland Chapter. Our Chapter is really very special. We have a long line of Past Presidents that have brought their knowledge and expertise from their careers to leading our great Chapter. As I was thinking about my year as President, I thought I would reach out to several of them for their “words of wisdom” or any advice that they may have for my year ahead. Here is some of the advice they gave me:
- Once you get it figured out, it will be time to pass the gavel.
- It is best to set aside an hour a day for PCMA and stick to that or it will take over!
- Don’t get intimidated with all the emails. Streamline your lines of communication.
- It was one of my favorite things in my career to be President of the Heartland Chapter.
- Don’t get overwhelmed – we are all volunteers so do the best you can.
- The past Presidents are here to support the Chapter and we are a great resource to know what has worked or what hasn’t in the past.
- You will get a lot of opinions so listen to them and then make the best decision you can for the Chapter. Stick to your gut and your conviction.
- Don’t let anyone else’s opinion make you change what you know is the right thing to do.
- Be realistic with your goals. Don’t take on too much.
- Stop. Take a deep breath and enjoy the year.
The one piece of advice that really stood out is this:
- Being President this year will be so important in this pivotal time in our industry. This is our time to take all that we’ve learned the past two years and make our industry better.
Thank you to all the past Presidents for the time you have given to our Chapter over the years.
With this year being such an important year in this industry I want to share my theme for our Chapter this year. Our theme is the YEAR OF RE. Are you ready?
It is a time to REBUILD, to REFOCUS our goals and our efforts, it is time to RE-ENGAGE with our membership and reach out to new members. It is time to RECREATE our new normal. It is time to RENEW our convictions. It is time to REFLECT, RESTART, REPAIR, REGAIN, RECHARGE, RETRAIN, and REACTIVATE.
Let us continue to break new ground as we learn from the past. We will adapt and we will succeed.
What I am asking from everyone this year is to get involved and to volunteer in our Chapter to help shape our new normal and to help us continue the great traditions we have. I’m asking all of our members to attend as many educational and networking events that you can and I’m asking all of our suppliers to consider sponsoring our events. It will take all of us! But we can do this – We are better Together.
Thank you and let’s make 2022 a GREAT YEAR!”